Canada's electoral history from 1867 to today

When political conviction doesn't lead to political success

by Maurice Y. Michaud (he/him)

John Turmel (© Dragon's Den/CBC)There are perennial candidates, then there's John C. Turmel, shown here. He is the Guinness World Records holder for the most contested and lost elections, and he "only" appears 91 times in this database because it does not track municipal elections. Including him, this database contains 844 perennial candidates, which is defined as "a person who has never been elected and has run five times or more at the federal or provincial level."

  • Given that 68,547 candidates have been recorded so far, that means that 1.23% are considered perennial. Of those 844 perennials, 128 (or 15.17%) have a full profile.
  • Then a subset of perennials would be the extreme perennials — those individuals who ran ten times or more without success. By that definition, the number goes down to only 108 (or 0.16% of all candidates), but 46 of those (or 42.59%) have a full profile.
Not all perennial candidates' political careers are catastrophic — just lacklustre. For instance:
  • There are those 203 "one-hit wonders" — those who ran five times of more but won only once. Although they represent only 1.42% of parliamentarians and 0.30% of recorded candidates, they are nearly twice as numerous as extreme perennials.
  • And then there are the "underwhelming" — those whose success rate is below 30% — referring to the 45 persons who ran seven times or more but won only twice, representing 0.31% of parliamentarians and 0.07% of all candidates.
However, as limited as their success was, they are still classified as "Elected" rather than "Perennial."

© 2022, 2023 Maurice Y. Michaud ::
Pub.: 21 Jul 2022 16:46
Rev.: 14 Mar 2023 21:35 (but data revised dynamically)